America the generous

Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes last year, setting a record and besting the 2005 total that had been boosted by a surge in aid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the Asian tsunami, according to an annual report released by the Giving USA Foundation at Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy.


  • Donors contributed an estimated $295.02 billion in 2006, a 1 per cent increase when adjusted for inflation, up from $283.05 billion in 2005.

  • Excluding donations for disaster relief, the total rose 3.2 per cent, inflation-adjusted.

  • Individuals gave a combined 75.6 per cent of the total, and about 65 per cent of households with incomes less than $100,000 give to charity.

    Further, Americans gave twice as much as the next most charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison done by the Charities Aid Foundation:

  • In philanthropic giving as a percentage of gross domestic product, the United States ranked first at 1.7 per cent, well ahead of No. 2 Britain at 0.73 per cent.

  • France, with a 0.14 per cent rate, trailed such countries as South Africa, Singapore, Turkey and Germany.

    "It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country," says Claire Gaudiani, professor at NYU's Heyman Center for Philanthropy. The willingness of Americans to give cuts across income levels, and their investments go to developing ideas, inventions and people to the benefit of the overall economy.

    Source: Record: U.S. donors give nearly $300B, USA Today, June 25, 2007.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 03 July 2007
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